SAN JOSE, CA — An unusually broad cross-section of organizations is calling for the largest climate march in history in New York City this September 21. Their plan is to challenge Ban Ki-moon’s special climate summit at the United Nations to take meaningful action in the wake of its notorious 2009 failure in Copenhagen. “This is an invitation to change everything,” said the organizers, who include unions, environmentalists, and diverse social justice groups.
A New York City Climate Convergence is also being organized from Sept 19-21 in coordination with the march. Its intention is to supplement the action with development of strategies for the system change necessary to actually reverse the destruction. Through political education, planning, and movement building, the NYC Climate Convergence will work to focus its energy on real solutions.
“The root of the problem is an economic system that exploits people and the planet for profit,” leaders said. “It is a system that requires constant growth, exploitation, warfare, racism, poverty, and ever-increasing ecological devastation to function.”
Above all the NYC Climate Convergence will have to address the urgent question of how to advance the political independence of the movement. The government of the United States is without question the most powerful protector of the fossil fuel industry in the world today, and the government is shielded by the corrupt two-party system. Abysmal climate records by both Republican and Democratic-led governments over the past decade and a half are proof that a new political approach is necessary.
President Obama’s recent incremental curbs on coal plant emissions are a case of too little, too late. As Bill McKibbon pointed out, they are mainly “mopping-up action” after victories already won in court by environmental organizations. The administration’s failure to address other aspects of the fossil fuel industry is glaring. “Reducing carbon pollution from coal does not make fracking, tar sands oil, deep water and Arctic drilling OK,” said 2012 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. “The climate is spiraling into runaway warming. Obama’s promotion of cheap dirty fossil fuels makes coal regulations just window dressing on a disastrous policy.” Stein has called for a Green New Deal to create some 25 million jobs to help meet human needs and transition to a carbon-free economy.
The NYC Climate Convergence is demanding:
· Millions of jobs in renewable energy, conservation, and public transit
· A just transition from fossil fuels and nuclear power
· New food, water, and sanitation systems
· An emergency transition to a new kind of economy
· Tax the rich and slash the military budget.
A mass movement for ecological and social justice is necessary but not sufficient. It is time to unite and organize the independent political expressions of that movement.